Monday, 17 August 2009

VERDICT: Navigon MN7 trial on HTC Touch Pro 2 WinMob 6.1 - FAIL.

So, there I am, on the way back from spending the weekend at my better half's place, and using the Navigon MN7 trial package to navigate back before I bin it to try NavMii... Yeah, I actually do know the way, but I *was* giving it the full trial period to give it it's fair crack of the whip...

Everything was going reasonably well, it'd actually taken my preferred route - M4 east to the A329M, the A322, M3, and M25, and then I noticed that I never refuelled after I got to my better half's place - and the car was close to empty! OOPS!

So, knowing there are a few fuelling stops near the various junctions of the M25, I came off the motorway at the very next junction (junction 8 (Reigate & Epsom), cancelled the route guidance, and consulted the petrol station POI in MN7. And found, luckily, that BP have a petrol station not a mile up the A217 at Lower Kingswood.

So, I dropped in there, stuck a much-needed twenty quid of unleaded in the car, and disappeared inside to pay for it - their coffee machine was broken, dammit - and reset the MN7 to get me home again from there.

And that's when the problems started again with MN7. It pointed me towards Banstead, and then petulantly locked up - and not knowing the area, I was carefully paying my fullest attention to the roads, listening for the audio prompts from the satnav - which I realised after one roundabout and a junction, weren't forthcoming. So, I found a safe place to stop, and checked the PDA.

Yep, The routing was locked up solid again - it did this twice on the way over to my better half's on Friday, but I'd attributed this to a mid-route pause while I got a take-away at the Bracknell KFC (this time they HAD chicken!) to get a bargain bucket, as requested (it's a veritable standing order for my Better Half - "You coming over tonight?" "Yup" "Bring us a bucket, willya?!"), and then it locked up again under a rather thick canopy of trees at a junction, which I attributed to a process fart as it tried to find satellites again.

This time the map was stuck a hundred yards past the petrol station I'd just left, and I didn't know why - still don't, as a matter of fact. Completely random, that lock-up, by the look of it. There was no interruption of route, and hardly any tree coverage over the road (dual carriageway). And would it shut down?

No chance. Believe me, I tried almost every method short of a soft reset.

So, one soft reset later, I had the damn thing running properly again.

And it bloody went and locked up twice more AGAIN within two miles of each lock-up.

By this time, as one might imagine, I was practically fit to be tied.

Luckily, I had found my way to Sutton, and knew my way home without the need for satnav, which is probably just as well, as I'd probably have launched it and my phone into orbit, I was that hacked off. I HATE being lost (my better half will attest to this!). I find it grossly embarrassing, annoying, and a waste of expensive petrol to boot. This is why I like having a working turn-by-turn satellite navigation package on my PDA/phone.

So, now that I've learned that I cannot trust this package when the chips are down, I've deleted Navigon MN7 from my PDA, and the control program (Navigon Fresh) from my PC as well. No more trials from them - I just cannot trust their software anymore, even in a free trial. You would expect them to have the thing stable, and ready for Windows mobile 6.1, but apparently not, which is a shame, as there ARE things to like about this otherwise excellent package.

"Excellent"? I hear you ask. Yep. Excellent. Its' routing - when it isn't locked up - is spot-on. The TTS (Text-to-Speech) function is damn good. Its' verbal guidance is spot-on, and lane guidance excellent. In all those respects, it gets full marks.

But then it goes and loses those points and more besides almost immediately, because it can't accept 3rd party POI files, it doesn't like mid-trip interruptions, pauses, or petrol stations, locking up each time because of those and other unexplainable reasons, and frankly, the mapping, while up to date, is - even on the WVGA screen on my Touch Pro 2 - too damn small to read in a glance. So there's a whole brace of reasons not to buy this otherwise excellent package.

Hell of a shame, that lot.

Navigon, you've got a shedload of work ahead of you to make this package reliable.

Oh well... NavMii should be interesting, when I get around to it...

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